Letters to the editor for the week of August 22nd 

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Time to experience and embrace Ironman

As we lead into Ironman weekend, the excitement is building. We have all watched these athletes month after month pound the pavement, create waves in the lakes and line our beautiful Sea to Sky in preparation for the biggest race of their life.

These athletes have worked not just the months we have seen, but for some this has been many years with one dream in mind — to be an Ironman. The dream may have started small, but as they conquered each goal milestone, they somehow believe that this is the next step. With each event getting longer and longer they truly believe that Ironman is the event that will be the final notch on the belt in this life of training that they have lead.

After witnessing my husband complete his first (and probably only) Ironman in Penticton last August, I am so excited that this amazing event has made its way to Whistler.

For those of you who haven't had a loved one involved in this event you may not understand how important this race is to each and every athlete that is competing this weekend.

The sacrifice that they make for the training is insane and the pressure that they place on themselves is incredible. When I went to Penticton, I was not prepared for what I saw. The way that the community embraced this race was absolutely incredible. The streets were lined for the days leading into the race with signs welcoming Ironman athletes, there were personalized messages drawn on the pavement and roads of the race course, it was mind blowing.

When I drove into Penticton, I really had no idea how big a deal this race was. I had been living in a house with this crazy man that loved to push the limits of racing and I just thought that was normal.

Then I witnessed the true love and support of not just the families, but the volunteers, the local businesses, the emergency services and most of all the community.

I have no doubt in my mind that Whistler and Pemberton are the best communities for Ironman Canada to call home. You all have a heart of gold and I can't wait to see this showcased.

There are two things I would recommend not missing out on: the swim start — it may be an early start for all of us but 3,000 people in Alta Lake will be the most mind blowing sight you have seen; and the final hours on the finish line.

Just thinking about standing at the finish line watching these athletes makes me emotional.

Take the time to watch the racers that finish between 9 p.m. and midnight. Think about when they started the race — 6 a.m. Some of these people will have been driving themselves through the hardest barriers their bodies have ever created to overcome what seems impossible, to continue to race for up to 18 hours.

I have never felt so inspired watching these athletes of all shapes, sizes and ages. You can just see it in their faces as they tear up in the last 20 metres knowing that they have done it. That it was all worth it. That the sacrifice has paid off and they are now an Ironman.

These athletes will have been running for at least an hour in the dark on their epic journey to complete this race. In the final minutes before the race cut off, you will experience something incredible. Random strangers will cheer and run alongside athletes encouraging them to push as they make their way to the finish line.

These athletes will be barely able to stand and as they make the finish line prior to cutoff with minutes or even seconds to spare. The catchers will embrace them and let them know that they are now an Ironman.

This is a momentous occasion not to be missed. I promise for all of you that will be standing with me at the finish line, you will never regret experiencing the emotional moment of a complete stranger completing the biggest race of their life.

Ainslie Conway
Whistler

 

Saved, one life

I would like to say thank you to the medical emergency crew and the police officer on duty on August 11 around midnight.

Because of these people's prompt action and sound decision making, my daughter was sent down to Lions Gate Hospital immediately and received major surgery that saved her life.

I also would like to say thank you to all our friends who worried for us, cried for us and gave us support and kind words.

I got my daughter back from the border between life and death!!!

Thank you so much!

Fumie Kashino
Whistler

 

Cyclists need to share road

As a Pemberton local watching as thousands of cyclists invade my town last weekend (for the Slow Food Cycle), I am horror stricken. The rudeness, ignorance of laws and overall pandemonium of an event that is not very well organized has left me stressed out a tad.

The roads are open to both cyclists and vehicles, but try to tell that to the cyclists, who ride two km/h, five wide, giving you the finger when you accelerate to all of 12 kms/h to pass. Then there are the groups of cyclists coming at you in the wrong lane, forcing you to stop. I am also flabbergasted by the thousands of cyclists who do not have helmets on. Is that not the law?

I am wondering as to what the benefits are for the businesses in town? I talked to various business owners today and at most are disappointed by the lack of any profit all, stores are quiet. Also, there is a freaking beer garden in our public park! I watched as a number of people half staggered to their vehicles, loaded up their bikes and drove off.

I understand that the police were pre-occupied a tad with a separate senseless tragedy, but I fail to understand why I/we have to put up with a bunch of ignorant cyclists every year.

And to think next weekend, they will force us yet again into chaos in our small town.

Not impressed at all by the cyclists and the organizers.

Peter Wortman
Pemberton

 

Where was the local fare?

Although the Pemberton Valley Slow Food Cycle in previous years has been one of summer's highlights for me, this year's version was about a 4/10 in my opinion, and not just because of the cool and cloudy weather.

Following our drive from Whistler, we arrived in Pemberton shortly after 8:00 a.m., and after registering we headed off on our bikes along the route, looking forward to coffee and homemade pastries for breakfast at one of the first farms visited. A cup of luke warm, tasteless brown water was passed off as coffee ($2) while the pastries had that wrapped-in-plastic look that communicates industrial production on a gigantic scale. I chose a slice of banana loaf in error, as it turned out to be identical to that available at any Starbucks anywhere in the world.

Undaunted, my friends and I continued pedalling along the route, although I think we were slightly off in our timing, as we stood in line for more than an hour for what turned out to be a very mediocre hamburger, a wait which likely might challenge an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

In the past, I have not associated hamburgers with farm produce from the Pemberton Valley, and I have not eaten a hamburger of any description in more than 10 years. At $8 for the hamburger and a can of artificially flavored sparkling water available at Whistler's IGA Marketplace, it was more expensive and less reminiscent of farm produce than one could have purchased at any baseball or football stadium anywhere. Again, I doubt whether the beef was locally produced, and I suspect it came frozen from a huge processing plant somewhere thousands of kilometres from Pemberton.

At another farm, we endured another long wait for a triple sampler of tacos ($10.00), which included prime rib, potato, and seafood taco samplers. I found it difficult not to ask myself how Mexican tacos could possibly represent farm produce from the Pemberton Valley. The beef was overcooked, tough, and stringy, the seafood was cod, a fish that is certainly not local, and I avoided the potato taco sampler since I can't think of anything more boring than starch served inside a starchy wrapper. The fact that I dislike Mexican food generally, whether boring, refried, or simply too spicy, didn't improve the experience.

In fact, I didn't eat anything all day that I would normally walk across the street for. However, I do love a bike ride in the Pemberton Valley meadows, especially in the company of good friends.

Next year, I will give this event — with its underwhelming non-local food — a pass, and enjoy a bike ride here in Whistler with friends, followed by a nice lunch at any one of Whistler's excellent choices, and one that does not require an hour's wait to get in the door.

Doug Garnett
Whistler

 

WIC thanks

A campus-sized thanks to the Whistler community members who came out to the Whistler International Campus open house this past Saturday.

The site was alive and buzzing with people sharing excited conversation about the potential of Whistler International Campus.

Visitors explored the proposed site, got a look at the architectural vision for key campus locations and "future students" enjoyed the kid's activities.

Many locals shared their wish to see their children and grandchildren have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education right here at home. We appreciate all of our visitors giving us their time and sharing in our vision. The support of the community is the fuel that keeps us moving the project forward.

Roger Zen
Whistler International Campus

 

Growing the library

On behalf of the Whistler Public Library Board of Trustees and staff of the Whistler Public Library, I would like to thank the American Friends of Whistler (AFOW) for granting the library funds to move forward with completing the physical portion of our year-long organizational restructuring.

Thanks to the generous gift from the AFOW, we will be able to create a service space that reflects all of the warmth, openness and positive energy that we strive for when fulfilling the needs of our patrons and the community.

Thank you to the American Friends for helping us to grow and give Whistler the very best!

Elizabeth Tracy
Whistler Library Director

 

We deserve better

Parks belong to us. We entrust this public legacy to government to manage on our behalf. Today BC Parks' $32 million operational budget is $10 million less than it was in 2000.

A comparison with neighbouring jurisdictions shows that B.C. ranks dead last in provincial parks funding.

Documents showed that 60 per cent of seasonal park ranger jobs have been terminated, reducing numbers from 144 seasonal rangers to just 87 combined with 12 full-time park rangers, this meant that in the busy summer months there were only 99 rangers left to patrol over 1,000 parks and protected areas (British Columbia's Provincial Parks, by the Wilderness Committee).

The B.C. government has argued that it doesn't have the money to increase the operations budget. But its important to note that between 2006 and 2010 the provincial government provided roughly one billion dollars in subsidies to oil and gas corporations — the richest corporations in the history of the world, hundreds of billions of dollars in profit. How is that possible?

Meanwhile the BC Liberals cut spending to lower income housing developments, hospitals, teachers, schools, fish and wildlife, and has the worst child poverty in Canada.

Harper Conservatives subsidize oil corporations in the billions of dollars. Harper cut funding to everything except oil and gas — to federal parks, Department of Fisheries, Kitsilano Coast Guard station. Harper also cut pensions, and benefits to returning soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. Taxpayers also paid $1.2 billion for a three-day G8 and G20 meeting.

Harper also admitted three billion dollars cannot be accounted for.

Would you want this person running your company?

Who does Harper work for anyway? He worked for an oil corporation before taking public office, so did his father.

Harper works for oil first and taxpayers second. He doesn't care what British Columbians think.

We deserve a better government than this.

Dave Bennett
Whistler

 

Keeping IPPs in the news

In response to Bruce Kay's patronizing "letter to the editor" (Pique, Aug.15) which accused me of sending in "weekly repetition (sic) of wildly divergent, speculative and often irrelevant assertions," firstly, thanks to Bruce for being a loyal reader! Secondly, I repeat myself in the hope that more B.C.ers will wake up to the harms that BC Liberal's "Clean" Energy policy inflicts on B.C. taxpayers (increased utility rates), on BC Hydro (likely bankruptcy and privatization due to highly priced private power that B.C. does not need) and on our public land (diversion of many fish-bearing rivers coupled with the industrialization and fragmentation of wilderness areas without any little regard for cumulative impacts).

Bruce, like many other B.C.ers, seems unaware of, or perhaps willfully blind, to the fact that river diversion projects are not as green as independent power producers (IPPs) would like the public to think. A June 2013 report (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wrcr.20243/abstract?goback=%2Egmp_4928907%2Egde_4928907_member_231470679#%21) highlights that river diversion projects often have greater impacts on habitat and hydrology — sometimes by several orders of magnitude — than of large dams, including due to the dewatering of rivers. So contrary to Kay's claim that technology is not an issue, this peer-reviewed research found that it is.

Kay's claim regarding Ashlu's "one event of water-flow management error" is also erroneous. A government report (Menezes 2012 Operational Non-compliance Report) stated that Innergex's Ashlu river diversion project had three reported incidents in 2010, which resulted in killed or stranded fish.

The same government report found that Innergex's Fitzsimmons Creek diversion project had the highest number of reported non-compliance incidents with in-stream flow requirements (IFR), namely 22 incidents.

This was more than three times the number of reported IFR non-compliance incidents than the second worst offender.

I could go on but risk repeating myself given that the report found 700 reported incidents of non-compliance by IPPs in 2010 in southwest B.C. The Menezes Report stressed that there may well have been many more non-compliance incidents than the ones reported by IPPs, including Innergex. Another government report highlighted IPPs' wide spread non-compliance with their monitoring commitments (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/348172.pdf).

On the issue of climate change, a financially viable BC Hydro with money to upgrade its existing hydro projects is a much better tool against climate change than allowing IPPs to divert hundreds of rivers, especially given the absence of any regional or provincial planning process.     

Last but not least, I support micro-hydro projects with minimal dewatering that supply power locally; are not located in fish-bearing creeks or in areas where there are species at risk or threatened grizzly bear populations.

These projects do not require massive infrastructure, such as a 72-km transmission line like Innergex/Creek Power Inc.'s Upper Lillooet River Hydro Project or the 344-km northwest one.

My beef against river diversion projects has nothing to do with NIMBYism but with poor policy, B.C.'s flawed environmental assessment process, the lack of meaningful public input; the undermining of democracy due to Bill 30, etc., etc. but I repeat myself.

Louise Taylor
Pemberton

 

Volunteering for Crankworx

My wife and I have just return from a two-week stay in the Whistler-Pemberton area where we had a great time with our son (Colin) and daughter-in-law (Erica), but also thoroughly enjoyed Crankworx.

From the bike activities, to the night-time slide shows/videos, to the vendors/sponsors tents it was a great show.

We were hooked the day we watched the Enduro where we cheered for a local racer (Davis) and learned about volunteering.

Both Diane and I volunteered on two occasions and got to know a great bunch of dedicated volunteers who support Crankworx.

The core volunteer group and course/activity teams are working late in the day and are back early in the morning to facilitate the entire Crankworx show. Truly the show could not go on without them.

Thank you Whistler and thank you volunteers.

Robert Fisher
Belleville, Ontario

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